Over 200 individuals gathered in front of the Siem Reap Provincial Court last week to ask that Dim Suonnath, the CEO of a real estate company being held for fraud, take responsibility for compensating some 2,000 residents who invested with him. The request was denied.
Suonnath responded with a letter requesting to be released on bail and promising to pay compensation acording to people’s original investments, if he is indeed released.
Suonnath, the CEO of Enarita Development Co Ltd, has been held in detention for the last eight months, pending a hearing after the police arrested him for fraud and issuing fake cheques.
Siem Reap Provincial Court spokesman Yin Srang told The Post on Sunday that the investors’ request could not be granted.
The court would not release Suonnath either because the case is still pending. The court concluded an investigation already, and it will hold a hearing soon. The residents were asked to wait for the court’s decision.
“The court is continuing to investigate the case because this matter consists of many cases. It is their right to gather but it is unrelated to court procedures,” Srang said.
“The prosecutor has clarified the case to the protesters and explained that the court will implement procedures according to each case,” he said.
Srang added that while the case is now under the court’s jurisdiction, it is also being handled by the Ministry of Interior, because plaintiffs brought the case to the ministry.
The court is investigating Suonnath’s actual properties first.
“When the court concludes the investigation, it will open a hearing. If the case is not concluded, it means that the court is continuing to investigate it,” Srang said.
While he was unsure how much money was involved in the case, he said the provincial court president and the prosecutor had gathered the evidence and reported it to the senior leadership.
Suonnath is from Thmai commune, Sen Sok district, in Phnom Penh. His company comprises of seven subsidiaries across the Kingdom.
The company invested in several sectors such as land, coffee, pure drinking water and education.
Its main branches are in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap while various provinces have smaller branches with marketing managers at the helm.
The Siem Reap Provincial Court decided to detain Suonnath and charge him with two counts of fraud and issuing fake cheques in July of last year after residents sued him for hundreds of millions of dollars.
The company’s owner could not be reached on Sunday, while the court declined to provide contact details.
Ung Sopanha, one of 200 victims, told The Post on Sunday that the protesters aimed to seek intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen in the hope that he would help those who invested in the company.
“Hundreds of families who invested with the firm are having extreme difficulties. They have no money to pay the banks, or for private matters. Some of them don’t dare to go to their hometowns because they don’t dare face their creditors.
“All residents are waiting impatiently for a solution from Suonnath, as promised in the letter,” he said.
One of Suonnath’s 10 lawyers who asked not to be named said continuing to detain his client for a long time and without closing the investigation would affect the rights of the accused as stated in the law.
“Detaining him for a very long time affects the civil rights of my client. As a defence lawyer, I want the court to speed up the process in deciding whether the victim is guilty or not,” he said.